October 2013

October 29, 2013

The fried egg sandwich at 20th Century Café. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Good afternoon, dear readers. Could you believe that wind on Sunday? I was driving down Geary on Sunday night and it was pretty dramatic, full of dry leaves blowing around like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz—I half expected to see a witch fly by (or perhaps one of those barely dressed 95-pound girls dressed like a naughty nurse who hadn’t made it home yet from their pre-Halloween partying). I am now definitely in a fall frame of mind, and ready for Halloween this Thursday. I am extremely fired up to see the Flaming Lips that night, my first time to see one of their shows. Woohoo!

Just an FYI, this is all you’ll be seeing from me this week. I am going to be taking this Friday off, because when I signed a contract with boss of me back in 2000, I got it in writing that I was not to work on my birthday. Nope, I am going to be enjoying a fun Friday lunch with my family (including grandma!) and I need to see if I can rope my sister into seeing the otter exhibit at the Aquarium of the Bay. Come one, who can resist three river otters named Shasta, Tubbs, and Wildcat? I can’t.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to KRON4 on Saturday to watch my first tablehopper hot list segment—I covered San Francisco classics that are being updated (FOG CITY, Tosca Cafe, and Comstock Saloon), you can watch it here! I will be back Saturday November 9th with another segment. Thanks for having me on, KRON!

Oh, and here’s my Tablehopping column that ran last week in the Bay Guardian. (Have you checked out Green Heart Foods yet? So good!) Soooo, I think the universe knew my beloved editorial assistant is away on her honeymoon right now and is punishing me with a ton of news this week. Let’s dive in here, shall we?

Marcia Gagliardi
(and just to gently remind you, it’s Marcia rhymes with Garcia)

October 25, 2013

What I wouldn’t give to be sitting on the terrace at Mudbrick (on Waiheke Island) for happy hour right about now. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy, amigos. Nothing like a sunny afternoon to get you into a weekend state of mind, right? Another way to get into a weekend state of mind is editing a bunch of a pictures of Waiheke Island, let me tell you. No, not our local Waiheke Island Yacht Club (which is with us on the waterfront until the end of the year!), but the place that inspired its name: the gorgeous Waiheke Island east of Auckland. As you may be guessing, here’s my second jetsetter installment from my trip to New Zealand! I hope you enjoy reading about the day trip I took to that magical place. Put it on your list.

For an easier jaunt that won’t require airfare, I just wrote up these three food-and-wine experiences north of San Francisco on 7x7.com, featuring fun places to get out of town—maybe you’ll get inspired to check ‘em out. We also have a 707 scout today from Heather Irwin—pork and pickle lovers will especially want to pay attention.

Was very sorry to hear from a friend early this morning that Maverick in the Mission suffered a fire—fortunately no one was injured. I’ll have an update for you on Tuesday.

And just a little reminder: tomorrow morning (Saturday!), I am going to be appearing on KRON4 this with my first tablehopper hot list segment at 9:15am. Yeah, I am going to need to work on a strong “buon giorno!”—a little tough for this night owl. Hoot!

Enjoy the weekend!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 22, 2013

So good: tender beans and fall vegetables at this weekend’s Wild Soul event (with chef Charlie Hallowell). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Today is a big day for many of the top restaurants in SF, as they breathlessly await their phone calls from the Michelin Guide to hear how many stars they received for 2014. So far, congrats to The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood for keeping their three macarons; extra congrats to Quince on earning two stars (previously one!); to Coi, Atelier Crenn, and Manresa on keeping their two; and SPQR, Aziza, Ame, Spruce, Sons & Daughters, Luce, The Village Pub, Bouchon in Yountville, Madrona Manor, and Commis all have one. Cheers to all! That’s everything I’ve got for now—unfortunately my deadline and the release of info from Michelin didn’t coincide very well. Ah well.

How was your weekend? Fall is soooo here, right? Friday night I hit the dance floor at Public Works to see my favorite DJ evah, DJ Harvey. Always righteous. Saturday was my great-uncle Tony’s 90th birthday party, how cute is that? And my great-aunt Mary is 94. What a duo, so wonderful. Our family had a huge pizza party, with some mighty tasty pies from Soleil Wood-Fired Pizza (if you’re looking for someone to cater your party, they did an awesome job—trust, it’s not easy to make a group of Italians happy).

Sunday I had a swell adventure out of the city, thanks to Wild Soul and SolYoga (they create unique experiences and retreats blending travel, food, and yoga): my friend and I left town early to drive north to True Grass Farms, just outside of Valley Ford. We started the day with an inspiring alfresco yoga class with David Moreno on the sunny deck (accompanied by incredible music from Laura Inserra), and then took a walk with True Grass Farms owner Guido Frosini, who raises grass-fed wagyu (I am gonna look for his beef at some local farmers’ markets!), along with hogs and chickens (I have been enjoying his farm’s oh-so-fresh eggs immensely). After our jaunt to see the Estero Americano, we returned to the main house, where chef Charlie Hallowell (Pizzaiolo, and the upcoming Penrose) prepared a beautiful autumn lunch for us. It was a fantastic meal, with great company (so many interesting people around that table) and in a special place. I look forward to attending another Wild Soul event soon, it was lovely. Check ‘em out!

Oh, and guess what? I am going to be appearing on KRON4 this Saturday morning with my first tablehopper hot list segment! I should be on the show every other Saturday, we’ll see how it all shakes out. I am scheduled to be on around 9:15am (I know, someone is gonna have to go to bed early on Friday night—last call and morning appearances do not mix!). Tune in!

Catch you on the flip side.
Marcia Gagliardi

October 18, 2013

Flying books and soaring notes in North Beach. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy people. Am so sorry for those of you who have to deal with the BART shituation today, what a mess. Perhaps you need some entertainment? I’d say hop on over here—thanks to Gizoogle, Tuesday’s tablehopper has a whole new sound. Whoever programmed Gizoogle is a stone-cold genius. I am tempted to reprogram my homepage to a Gizoogle version instead. I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.

Something else to entertain you: this week is my monthly roundup for 7x7.com on five new restaurants for you to check out. Lots going on right now. Here’s the Gizoogle version in case you want to dial it to 11. Oh, and this Sunday, be sure to check out and support Bayview Mercantile: from 11am-4pm, you can score bites from Earl’s Bread, Batter Bakery, Yvonne’s Southern Treats, and more, plus some vino from Gratta Wines, and other treats! Hello, there will be a smoker fired up with $10 BBQ plates. Check it.

Big thanks to everyone who voted tablehopper.com the best food/drinks website for the Bay Guardian Best of the Bay readers poll! Y’all so sweet.

Okay, so today I am changing things up and giving you a couple of pieces of breaking news, plus Heather Irwin has some 707 news for you too. I am still doing a serious catch-up hustle here, so I gotta go!

Have a fab, sunny weekend!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 15, 2013

Stunning San Francisco sunset and a view of Coit Tower. And nope, I didn’t do a thing to this image. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ah yes, I am definitely back from my travels, and am unpacking quite the beast of a column on you today. There is some catch-up in here, with a few stories that will be old news to restaurant gossip obsessives, but there’s breaking news in here too. Dig in.

I am trying to get my act together quickly so I can head over to tonight’s Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 event at the Metreon. Tickets are sold out (I told you to jump on it!), but for those of you who are coming, please do come by the tablehopper table and say hello! I’ll be selling my vintage t-shirts, hoodies, and will have a few copies of my book with me too. Anyone who brings me Champagne gets major bonus points. #happyhopper #top100event

I spent most of my weekend catching up on work, but Sunday evening I was definitely out on the track. My night started at a gorg party in Telegraph Hill to meet Chile’s Concha y Toro winemaker, Marcelo Papa, and taste his delicious wines. All the guests were treated to a stunning magic hour (see today’s pic) while enjoying paired bites by chef Ruth Van Waerebeek. Yes, my life is hard.

I then scooted on over to Butterfly, where Ritz-Carlton executive chef Xavier Salomon’s 50th birthday party was going off (of course chef Hubert Keller got on the decks later in the evening). You can take a look at some pics on my Instagram page of the evening—yes, there was cheese. And truffles. And I may have eaten a bao stuffed with foie gras and figs the next day (the best parting gift ever). Happy 50th, chef! I finished my jaunt with a nightcap at Tosca (as you may have guessed from today’s title), with all the details in today’s chatterbox!

I hope to see you tonight, and if not, I’ll be back in your inbox on Friday. Ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 11, 2013

Cosenza Vecchia at dusk (and the Crati river). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Buon giorno! Yes, I am finally back from my two-week trip to Italia with my father, jet-lagged, a bit fatter (Italy tends to do that to you), and really, really glad my suitcase didn’t have any run-ins with that dang beagle after my flight home (wink wink). It was a 26-hour journey door-to-door (oof), so I am still a bit whupped. This pile of email isn’t helping matters either—you know who you are.

After 24 hours in Rome (bucatini all’amatriciana, check; gelato, check; pizza romana, check; Colosseum, check), it was incredible to return to Calabria after 12 years—so good to see and hang out with all the relatives, even if it’s a bit bittersweet to see how we’re all getting older. The highlight was of course visiting the farm where my father was born, such a pristine and beautiful place (near Lago in Calabria). I was also thrilled to spend an afternoon at Librandi cantina in Cirò Marina (sparkling gaglioppo, who knew?), dine on freshly foraged mushrooms in the mountains at La Tavernetta in Camigliatello Silano, take a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea one warm afternoon at Fuscaldo, and have an espresso where my grandfather used to grab his every day in Cosenza. Staying at my dad’s cousin Anna’s place meant we were fed like pigs getting prepped for the winter slaughter—that woman can cook. I was calling Anna “the beast” and joked about creating a new TV show for her called “Casalinga (‘housewife’) Smackdown.” Yeah, she would dominate.

After a week, we hopped in our faithful Meriva diesel, and I drove us nine hours north to Tuscany, specifically Chianti Colli Fiorentini. (Pro tip: Stopping at an autogrill in Campania is a good call—I had one of the best panini of my life, on a freshly baked rosetta roll, with the creamiest mozzarella di bufala and spicy soppressata. The espresso that followed was also stellar. Go Autogrill Agip!)

I had never visited the Tuscan wine country before, and my outpost for the next few days at Il Paluffo was the stuff dreams are made of. Yeah, staying in a restored 15th-century building is pretty special (ditto their fantastic olive oil and honey from their property). My food-savvy hosts at Paluffo toured me around to visit local artisan cheesemakers, an incredible meat market and salumaio (Macelleria Parti), some stellar local restaurants, two wineries (Castello di Monsanto and Castello della Paneretta), and we strolled through the too beautiful San Gimignano and Certaldo Vecchio. Early fall in Italy is a magical time—harvest was just wrapping up, the mushrooms were coming out in full force, and lightning was illuminating the night skies. I can’t wait to tell you more in a detailed post soon.

Now that I’m home for a bit (yeah, right), I sure have a lot of travel pieces to catch up on. Stand by. In the meantime, the pasta class I took at Il Paluffo inspired this week’s post I wrote on 7x7.com on where you can learn to make pasta locally (and where to buy the fresh stuff).

While I was gone, I also had a piece run on 7x7.com about seven special burgers you can only find on certain days in SF! And over at the Bay Guardian, you’ll find my piece about where I ate in Seattle on my recent trip, plus some tips from my hosts, Pioneer Square Pantry!

There’s a lot going on this weekend: tomorrow afternoon is FallFest (tickets are still available), Sunday is the second Batch Made Market, Tosca Cafe has reopened (more on this Tuesday), and Hemingway fans, I want to point you to this cool event on Monday, To Have and To Have Another (heh). Enjoy the fall weather this weekend.

See you Tuesday, a presto!
Marcia Gagliardi

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